At Santa’s Workshop

The best gift you can give is a hug–

one size fits all

and no one ever minds if you return it.

Marge Piercy

It’s that time of a very odd year, having had the rug pulled off from beneath us, leaving us scrambling for ways to land on our feet somehow and thrive. Aside from my Empty Nest interruption, 2020 was wonderful in peeling away the non-essentials of our harried lives, less so when we consider the deeper implications of all this isolation and the slow but sure corrosion of our personal ties. We are starved for human touch and the Zoom-minimized opportunities for random connections, though we’d have to consider ourselves lucky when such starvation is not from lack of food on the table. For those more fortunate to have fewer worries than most, life and shopping must go on if only to help the economy and make your favorite people smile –at a distance, of course.

For Him

Take “Family Tree” literally with an original and timeless portrait that you can make into wall art, include in an album for generations to enjoy, blow up as a large puzzle to keep the family entertained through the winter or as an all-occasion greeting card for the many friends and family we’re not allowed to see.

For the Young Ones (and the young once)

Delight in flights of fancy and imagination with unique creations from For my Game Of Thrones fan, I ordered dragon eggs and a 3D printed necklace as a proper Mother of Dragons should.

For All

One-off gifts or create your own themed collection of stocking stuffers from the practical to the simply fun. Amazon Prime delivers rain or snow, Covid or no, faster than reindeer.

For Her

Can you think of half an occasion when Chanel wouldn’t be a thrill?

For Santa’s Workshop

For quality that’s easier on the pocket and hours of entertainment while saving the planet, you’ll find unique, antique and vintage treasures on 1st Dibs or Facebook Marketplace. Among my favorite finds to cheer up my office is this sleek Italian marble coffee table–fabulously glamorous even if I don’t drink coffee.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best gift ideas and favorite things of 2020. And have the merriest of Ho-Ho-Hos!


Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

What My Mother Taught Me


For mothers, guilt management

can be just as important

as time management.

Sheryl Sandberg


What’s better than a beautiful loving daughter to celebrate you on Mother’s Day? Having two daughters–or more!

One day when I’m a wise old owl, I hope to gather disparate notes on life and human nature to bequeath my granddaughters. For now, I’m busy biting my tongue being diplomatic around teens, praying for the strength to hang on to my charm and sense of humor until they produce those grandchildren. Then I’ll be busy keeping a straight face as I watch them take their turn with the joys of parenting–aka Payback Time!

Excerpt from Lynn Wadani’s “75 Things My Mother Taught Me About Life on Thought Catalog:

      1. Nothing that’s handed to you on a silver platter is worth having. And nothing worth having will be handed to you. Fight for what you want.

      2. If you have to fight, hit first. And hit hard.
      3. There is no such thing as having too much fun.
      4. Fall in love as often as you can. Fall in love with songs, with books, with places, and fall in love with people. But above all, fall in love with yourself.
      5. Don’t get into a relationship because you don’t like being single.
      6. A relationship can only end two ways: You will either break up with that person or marry him. Don’t waste your time with someone unless you can accept both outcomes.
      7. While drunk, don’t give your number to anyone you wouldn’t talk to when sober.
      8. When in doubt, don’t text him. But don’t be afraid of texting him once in a while.
      9. When people act like they don’t care about you, believe them.
      10. If he doesn’t accept you for who you are and he makes you cry, walk away.
      11. You were lovely long before he loved you. You will be lovely after that, too.
      12. Mondays are good days. Maybe it’s your routine that sucks.
      13. There is a big difference between listening and being quiet while waiting for your turn to talk.
      14. Running away from your feelings is a race you will never win.
      15. If I repeated the same joke ten times in a row, you wouldn’t laugh at it after a few times. There is no reason for you to cry over and over again for the same reason.
      16. Your friends will give you all sorts of advice. Listen to them, take their point of view into consideration, then do whatever you want. Because your friends are great, but you need to make your own mistakes and learn from every single one.
      17. If you like that dress, wear it. Life is too short to choose depending on other people’s opinions.
      18. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
      19. When someone does something wrong, don’t forget everything they did right.
      20. Travel as often as you can.
      21. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
      22. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.
      23. People can only stab you in the back if you hand them the knife.
      24. Always do the right thing. And when you can’t, convince yourself that what you did was the right thing.
      25. Actions speak louder than words. But (typed) words are pretty loud, too.
      26. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
      27. Painted nails and red lipstick can immensely improve your mood.
      28. Own a leather jacket and wear it out every time you want to explore your inner rebel.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you’ll want to pass on to your granddaughters. Forever grateful to the women who have mothered us and to daughters who make everyday Mother’s Day!






Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Best Books About Her Story

Behind every great man

is a woman

rolling her eyes.

Jim Carrey

In honor of Women’s History Month, these novels celebrate the women who didn’t quite make it to our history books as well as their husbands did.  The stories are well researched, parallel real life events, and read like memoirs. Excellent gifts to pass on to your favorite women!

The Aviator’s Wife

How Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the dutiful wife and daughter who married aviation’s first hero, came to realize she had been the brave and fearless one all along

The Other Einstein

Not a great deal is known about Mileva Maric’s scientific contributions, since her husband, the genius Albert Einstein, was careful to relegate her to the shadows.

The Paris Wife

After reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, author, Paula McLain, was moved to write about Hemingway’s little known first wife, Hadley Richardson.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Would you mind very much having your own work published under your husband’s name?

Loving Frank

Would you leave your children and devoted spouse for one great love?

 Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your favorite memoir or novel about a woman whose story needs to be told.


Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Like My Father Always Said

Be good


be careful.

Dominic, father of Michele


My favorites from Erin McHugh’s Like My Father Always Said, a collection of memorable quotes and gruff advice, sweet wisdom, and half-baked instructions on how to fix your life:

What other people think of you is none of your business.

You can have as much freedom as you can pay for.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second rat gets the cheese.

Perfect is the enemy of good.

The moment you think you want to change someone you love, dump ’em. You don’t like them for the right reasons and they won’t change anyway.

Never marry for money. Just hang out with a lot of rich people and fall in love.

Learn at least one new thing everyday.

Don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash.

The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

Before you speak ask yourself: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

The only bad mistake is one you stick by.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your favorite man’s memorable quip.







Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman


What I Love About Men

For Father’s Day, tips and quips from Rita Rudner, a favorite comedienne who (st)ages with glamour and style:

1. On gift ideas:  If you buy your husband a video camera, for the first few weeks he has it, lock the door when you go to the bathroom. Most of my husband’s early films end with a scream and a flush.

2. On guilt:  When a woman tries on clothing from her closet that feels tight, she will assume she has gained weight. When a man tries something from his closet that feels tight, he will assume the clothing has shrunk.

3. On memory:  Men forget everything, women remember everything. That’s why men need instant replays in sports–They’ve already forgotten what happened.

4.  On diets:  Men who can eat anything they want and not gain weight should do it out of sight of women.

5. When you find yourself wishing he were someone else:  No man is charming all of the time. Even Cary Grant is on record saying he wished he could be Cary Grant.

6. Don’t try to teach men how to do anything in public. They can learn in private.  In public, they have to know.

7. Men are self-confident because they grow up identifying with superheroes. Women have bad self-images because they grow up identifying with Barbie.

8. On movie selections:  Men are less sentimental than women. No man has ever seen the movie THE WAY WE WERE twice, voluntarily.

9. On planning what to do together:  Most men hate to shop. That’s why the men’s department is usually on the first floor of a department store, two inches from the door.

10.  Men hate to lose. I once beat my husband at tennis. I asked him, “Are we going to have sex again?” He said, “Yes, but not with each other.”

11. Don’t take clothing too seriously. I’ve never seen a man walk into a party and say “Oh, my God, get me out of here!  I’m so embarrassed–There’s another man wearing a black tuxedo.”

12.  Accept compliments graciously.  Example: “Mitch, you look great.” Mitch: “Thanks.” On the other side: “Ruth, you look great.” Ruth: “I do? Must be the lighting.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to tell us what you love about your man.

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


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